Not to be bested by their Oceanic neighbors, Australia now boasts a community digital fabrication shop of its own. Core77 forum member sanjy009 recently posted a news item about the Innovation Lab at a public library in Adelaide, officially opened by Lord Mayor Stephen Yarwood just three weeks ago.
Funded by the Adelaide City Council, the lab is billed as a space "to build digital literacy and give Adelaide's 'hacker' community a place to toy with technology." To that end, they've bought a brand new Makerbot Replicator and an UP Plus 3D Printer.
An InDaily article and video (below) declares that "technology that can put the tools of mass manufacturing into the hands of the average person has been made available to the community in a city library."
"To give the community the chance to work with cutting edge technology is a real coup for Adelaide," Yarwood said... The Lord Mayor said libraries were the natural home for places such as the innovation lab. "This is about libraries being at the edge of innovation," he said. "This is about libraries reinventing themselves and being hubs of technology, hubs of innovation, hubs of creativity."
Sanjy009 has helpfully included the City Council's press release in full, excerpted below; I was interested to learn that the program is modeled on that of the Fayetteville Free Library in New York:
In a South Australian first, Lord Mayor Stephen Yarwood will open a new Innovation Lab, complete with two state-of-the-art 3D printers, at the Grote Street Library on Friday 24 August...
"Library staff and other expert technicians will be on hand to show people how to use the technology. Schools can come into the city and try out this technology, giving them a glimpse into what's possible now through technology and where that might go in the future," he said. "There isn't a facility like this that's as accessible anywhere else in South Australia and it's a free service so come and give it a try."
There are plans for the program to evolve using a peer education model where advanced users can teach others what they have learnt, aligning with the Federal Government's Digital Literacy Strategy.
"Libraries have always been places for people to try new technologies before they incorporate them into their own homes," said Library Research and Digital Project Officer, Katherine Shaw.
"The Innovation Lab is a place where they can use this technology, which is usually only found in Universities and state-of-the-art organisations."
The Innovation Lab is an integral part of the Adelaide City Council's Digital Hub and Enterprise program plan for 2012 - 2015 and provides a space where the community can experiment and work collaboratively to create content and objects...
In the interest of due diligence, sanjy009 also mentions a forthcoming Fab Lab—in collaboration with the MIT program behind the one in Wellington and dozens of others across the globe—in the South Australian city, set to open this November. If you happen to be in Adelaide at the moment, the Innovation Lab is hosting an Open House tonight, Friday, September 14, from 4–7PM.